What‌ ‌Is‌ ‌Outpatient‌ ‌Rehab?‌ ‌

Home > What‌ ‌Is‌ ‌Outpatient‌ ‌Rehab?‌ ‌

At Northbound Treatment, we understand that the journey to recovery is personal and continuously evolving. Addiction affects everyone differently, and there is no one-size-fits-all approach to treatment. For this reason, we’re proud to provide a wide range of rehabilitation programs to help individuals from all walks of life overcome substance abuse and addiction.

As part of our full continuum of care, Northbound offers multiple outpatient treatment programs, which typically start after detox and residential rehab and before addiction support services. But what is outpatient rehab, exactly? If you or someone you love is struggling with drugs or alcohol, learning about the various types of treatment will help you determine which option suits you best. Here’s everything you need to know about outpatient programs at our rehabilitation center.

What Is Outpatient Treatment & How Does It Work?

Most people are familiar with the idea of residential (inpatient) rehab, in which clients live at a treatment center for at least 28 days. And yet, if you’re wondering what outpatient treatment is, you’re not alone. With outpatient (OP) programs, patients live at home while participating in up to 12 hours a week of one-on-one therapy, group counseling, and other evidence-based treatments.

With Northbound Treatment’s OP services, clients learn how to maintain sobriety while at home and adjust to the realities of daily life. At this stage, they receive continued motivation, guidance, and accountability from their treatment team and sober peers. Although outpatient rehab is typically an intermediate step between residential rehab and addiction support, it may be sufficient on its own in some mild cases. We offer a few types of OP programs, including intensive outpatient treatment, non-intensive outpatient treatment, and telehealth outpatient services.

Intensive Outpatient Treatment

After completing a residential rehab program, clients usually transfer to intensive outpatient (IOP) treatment. Others who have completed detox and have a safe, sober home environment might be able to begin an IOP program without going to residential rehab first. Some opt for intensive outpatient treatment after relapsing as a way to refocus on their recovery.

Both our inpatient and intensive outpatient rehab programs incorporate dual diagnosis treatment. The approach treats co-occurring mental health disorders together with addiction, which is often crucial for healing.

Northbound’s IOP recovery programs offer flexible scheduling and can be tailored to the real-life needs of our clients’ lives. Each patient works with their personal team of therapists and clinicians to develop an individualized plan involving at least nine hours of weekly participation.

IOP rehab at Northbound Treatment typically includes:

  • Individual counseling sessions
  • Group therapy
  • 12-step engagement
  • Recreational activities
  • Experiential therapies
  • Psychoeducation
  • Psychiatric care
  • Ongoing drug testing
  • Individual case management

In intensive outpatient rehab, you’ll develop the necessary skills for recovering fully, getting healthy, and maintaining long-term sobriety. Each goal, obstacle, milestone, and achievement will be met with loving support and firm accountability.

Outpatient Treatment

Most clients visit Northbound’s outpatient rehab centers after graduating from an IOP program. This is the stage of recovery where you can build on the skills you’ve already developed and solidify a sober lifestyle. Both clinicians and a sober, supportive community of peers are essential components of OP treatment, which involves at least three hours of weekly participation. Each treatment program is a stepping stone to lifelong freedom from addiction. While some phases are less intensive than others, they are all critical pieces of the puzzle.

For more information on “what is sober living?”, check out our blog post.

Telehealth Outpatient Treatment

Addiction doesn’t discriminate on gender, age, ethnicity, or income. It can affect people from all walks of life, and the team at Northbound acknowledges that everyone’s path to recovery is unique. As part of our commitment to making substance abuse treatment available to everyone, we’re proud to offer our HomeBound program, which supports clients through telehealth appointments.

With Northbound’s HomeBound telehealth services, you can get the treatment you need from the comfort of your own home. Our online outpatient program has been operating since 2016, and our seasoned therapists and facilitators are experts in providing virtual care. Each telehealth appointment effectively recreates all aspects of in-person addiction treatment.

Like our other inpatient and outpatient programs, HomeBound can treat addiction and co-occurring mental health conditions, such as depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, trauma disorders, OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder), eating disorders, and codependency. This helps clients identify the underlying cause of their substance abuse and learn healthy coping mechanisms.

Northbound Treatment’s Signature Services

During their initial assessment for outpatient treatment, clients work with their clinical team to come up with a treatment plan that aligns with their unique needs and goals. We’re passionate about helping our patients succeed not just in treatment rehab but in their personal and professional lives. That’s why we offer Signature Services, including our exclusive Collegebound® and Careerbound® programs, along with programs focused on music, family, trauma, and dialectical behavioral therapy.

Collegebound® Program

With Northbound Treatment’s Collegebound® program, clients can enroll in classes at a community college, university, or trade school and get the guidance and mentorship they need to succeed. This enhances outpatient treatment by integrating an educational component to support an individual’s long-term goals.

Careerbound® Program

The Careerbound® outpatient program is designed to empower those on the journey to recovery by helping them secure employment. With the assistance of a career counselor from Northbound, clients can work toward a professional future while continuing to thrive in a sober lifestyle.

Music Program

Northbound Treatment’s music treatment program helps clients heal from addiction and emotional turmoil by allowing them to express themselves musically and engage with others. This program is designed to complement other therapy approaches as part of a comprehensive recovery plan.

Family Program

With the outpatient family program from Northbound, family members get together four times a month to reconnect with the person in treatment. This allows them to face the root causes of addiction, repair rifts, overcome resentment, and heal collectively.

Trauma Program

Those who’ve suffered from physiological trauma and are addicted to drugs or alcohol need an integrated treatment approach to fully heal. Northbound’s outpatient trauma program addresses past trauma in conjunction with substance abuse and dependency.

Dialectical Behavioral Therapy Program

Dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT) helps patients develop skills for managing painful emotions and reducing relationship conflicts. The DBT outpatient program at Northbound is facilitated by trained therapists who help clients gain awareness and insight into their addiction recovery journeys.

The Full Continuum of Care

Whether you’re struggling with substance abuse, addiction, or alcoholism, we’re here to support you at every turn on the road to addiction recovery. As we mentioned, outpatient treatment is part of the full continuum of care offered by Northbound. Here’s what you need to know about each step.


Detox is short for detoxification, and it’s the process of ridding the body of toxins and chemical substances after discontinuing substance abuse. When dependence develops, withdrawal symptoms can be exceedingly uncomfortable and potentially dangerous without clinical supervision. Our licensed treatment facility in Newport Beach, California, ensures clients can detox safely and comfortably with around-the-clock care.

Residential Treatment

Northbound Treatment offers gender-responsive residential rehab programs (also referred to as inpatient treatment) for both men and women. So, what is inpatient treatment? Our inpatient treatment centers in Orange County are comfortable, safe, supportive, and effective with many options for personalization. Following detox, residential rehab offers hope and guidance when clients need it most.

Outpatient Treatment

As discussed, outpatient treatment is often a stepping stone between residential rehab and aftercare support services. In addition to accountability, OP and IOP programs help clients learn to live freely, find themselves, and achieve their personal goals.

Addiction Support Services

The addiction support services from Northbound Treatment offer clients tools and encouragement for maintaining life-long sobriety, becoming independent, rebuilding their lives, mending relationships, and adjusting to everyday life.

Start the Journey to Recovery Today

Northbound is dedicated to providing affordable treatment at every level, including detox, inpatient rehab, outpatient treatment, and drug addiction support services. We’re an in-network provider for almost all major insurance plans. If you’re not sure what type of drug abuse treatment your benefits cover, get in touch with us. We can help you navigate your insurance policy and come up with a payment option that works for you.

If you want to learn how to have someone committed for drug abuse, check out our blog post here.

The best time to start recovery is now. If you or a loved one are ready to set out on the path to sobriety, Northbound Treatment is here for you. Please don’t hesitate to reach out. Start the admissions process by filling out our online form or calling us today.


  1. Gifford, Steven, LICDC, and LPC. “Differences between Outpatient and Inpatient Treatment Programs.” Psychcentral.com. N.p., 17 May 2016., https://psychcentral.com/lib/differences-between-outpatient-and-inpatient-treatment-programs/
  2. “Types of Treatment Programs | National Institute on Drug Abuse.” Drugabuse.gov. N.p., n.d., https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/principles-drug-addiction-treatment-research-based-guide-third-edition/drug-addiction-treatment-in-united-states/types-treatment-programs
  3. McCarty, Dennis et al. “Substance Abuse Intensive Outpatient Programs: Assessing the Evidence.” Psychiatric services (Washington, D.C.) 65.6 (2014): 718–726. Print., https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4152944/

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